Hi everyone! I hope you had a FANTASTIC weekend!  I definitely did!  I turned 33 and ran 13.1 all in one day!  It was exhausting 😉  For real though, this race deserves a recap! So, without further ado, the More Fitness Half Marathon in Central Park New York on April 14, 2014!!!!

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I must say, the best part about the race experience was having my entire family there to support me.  I REALLY needed the adrenaline rushes upon seeing them throughout the race and  am SO appreciative they were there.

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My whole plan was  have everyone come to NYC for the night before, stay in a hotel then come cheer me on for the race on the morning of my birthday. That was my desire for a birthday present.  It was awesome!  We stayed at the Empire Hotel NYC.  While  place was gorgeous and the rooms impeccible, I found the service to be, at best, on the iffy-side.

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We all made the trek up to the city during Zach’s PM nap in order to arrivetime for the Expo and pick up my bib.

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I usually LOVE race expos and could spend hours there perusing the amazingness,  but I was SUPER disappointed by this Expo.  MAJOR CON.

-It was held at the Metropolitan Pavillian; kind of strange place for an Expo

-THEY RAN OUT OF T-SHIRTS!  Don’t you know how many t-shirts  you will need even down to the size (you sign up for a size online)?!?  So they ran out of tech ts (Athleta brand) and had crappy low quality ones made last minute.  I was able to grab a tech t in a large, as they had run out of M(the size I had orered)

-Vendors were eh.

-Restrooms served as dressing rooms so this lady who came all the way fom Philly and REALLY had to pee, had to wait a WHILE for one of the FOUR stalls people were trying clothing on in.

-NO liquid (water, Gatorade, etc) and hardly any samples.  In fact, frugality seemed to be a theme…

-Race “goody bags” lacked anything “good.”  ONE Kashi granola bar and a pack of tissues among MANY pamphlets.  Oh and I love how Athleta put in a huge catalog with NO coupon, promo, NADA.  Again, frugality.

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ANYWAY, we all agreed on having pizza (NY has the best) in our hotel room (which was a gorgeous suite) when Zach went to bed.  I was thrilled because I LOVE pizza and it tends to work for me on race eve.  I set all of my stuff up:  I tend to be SUPER anal about this; including attaching my D-tag timer (not usually my favorite timing devices because I fear needing to mess with my shoe laces mid-race; I usually prefer bib timers, but this ended up working out as I kept my “throwaway shirt” on for five miles, thereby hiding my bib) and securing a picture of Zach under my Garmin for inspiration when it got tough, which I knew it would.

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I (geek-ishly) studied the course map while chowing down

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and went to bed super early in hopes of feeling refreshed on race morning.  I also wrote the major hills on my hand to prepare me as well as a plan for when to take my shot bloks (before said major hills and before water station as they need to be flushed down).  The major hills were at miles 1.5, 3.5 and 4.5.  You loop TWICE through the 6.02 mile course, so you repeat the hills at miles 7, 9.5 and 10.5.  The worst hill is “Harlem Hill on the northwest side of the park (miles 3.5 and second loop mile 9.5).  I feared this hill BIG time, and rightfully so.  From the internet:

“you climb 84 vertical feet at a grade of 4.4% to cover 0.32 miles to the top of
Harlem Hill”

It kicked.my.ass.  Literally.  Butt and quads are KILLING today.  ARGH.  To put it into perspective, my previous half marathon pre-baby was 2:02 and change.  Going into the race, I knew it would be tough given the hilly cours, especially because I had trained entirely on the treadmill.  My goal was for a sub 2 hour half.  When I started that Harlem Hill climb, my new goal was to just finish!  Ha, really though, I mentally re-adjusted my goal for this race to sub 2:05, thinking I’d go after my sub-2 in September during the (FLAT) Rock ‘N Roll Philly.  Anyway, this race was SUPER tough.  I’d glance at my Garmin down hill and be flying at 7 and change minute miles but then struggle to keep a 10-min pace uphill at times. I was nervous.  BUT at about mile 10, I started thinking my sub 2 MIGHT happen.  I was thinking, “man, is it worse to see my goal is do-able and KNOW I need to PUSH SOOOOO HARD or to see it is not attainable and be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the finish?”  Do any other runners think this?!  Anyway, at 10 miles I think my Garmin was around an hour and a half and change so I KNEW I needed to buckle down, PUSH (my mantra) and leave it all out there.

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And that I did!  With a hair to spare!  1:59:28!!!!  Wahoooooo!  SUPER STOKED.  This was a VERY physically and mentally challenging race.  I am so happy with how it turned out and cannot wait for my future races!  This one really made me feel positive about my future races because it was so challenging.  Next up in the immediate future: Run for Babies April 28 (10k) then Broad Street (10 miler)!  Excited!  So tell me, have you run a race lately? Which?!

EXTRA PS TO MY RACE FANS (You know who you are): Thank you SO much for making the weekend so special!  It was an AWESOME way to celebrate my birthday, minus the MAJOR stomach distress I had for the entire day and night post-race causing me to spend brunch in the ladies room.  Dehydration is cute.  XOXO